The Brock Talk

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Arlington Million Again Rich With Talent

One of the premier turf races in North America will be run at Arlington Park near Chicago Saturday in the grade 1 Arlington Million. Run at 1-1/4 miles on the turf, it is traditionally a significant event for year-end championship honors, an early preview of the Breeders' Cup Turf to be run in November and a chance to also see some of Europe's brightest stars.

Great turf runners such as John Henry, who won the inaugural running in 1981 and again in 1984; Perrault (1982), Manila (1987) and Star of Cozzene (1993) have all traveled to Arlington Park to win the Arlington Million.

The list of winning trainers for the Million reads like a who's who of thoroughbred conditioners but only Ron McAnally and Charlie Whittingham have won the race multiple times - each winning the race on three occassions.

McAnally won the two Millions with John Henry and again with Tight Spot in 1991 while Whittingham won with Perrault, Estrapade (86) and Golden Pheasant in 1990.

Only four jockeys have multiple Arlington Million victories to their credit, each winning two including Laffit Pincay Jr., Jerry Bailey, Cash Asmussen and Jose Santos. Kent Desormeaux, who rides Mr. Sidney this year for trainer Bill Mott, is the only jockey to have a chance to join that group this year having won previously on Kicken Kris through the disqualification of Powerscourt (GB) for interference during the running of the 2004 running.

The Arlington Million had immediate noteriety as the first million dollar thoroughbred race in the world back in 1981 and the 2009 version certainly lives up to the high standard set by the illustrious history of the race.

World traveler Gloria de Campeao ships to Chicago after winning the Singapore Airlines International Cup, a group 1 race run in the Republic of Singapore in May. The winner of more than $1.4 million will join European invader Cima de Triomple (Ire) in challenging a stellar field of North American horses led by Gio Ponti, Einstein and Presious Passion.

In his most recent trip to the post in Sandown's Group I Coral-Eclipse July 4, Cima de Triomphe finished fourth, beaten by the winning Sea The Stars, Europe's outstanding sophomore; runner-up Rip Van Winkle, most recently winner of Goodwood's Group I Sussex Stakes; and Conduit, hero of last year's Breeders' Cup Turf and this year's Group I King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Regular rider Christophe Lemaire rides again Saturday.

Gio Pointi is coming off of three consecutive grade 1 turf victories in the Man o' War Stakes in July and the Manhattan Handicap in June at Belmont Park and the Frank E. Kilroe Handicap at Santa Anita in May.

Einstein has won on every type of surface during his career having taken the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. 1) on a synthetic track and the Turf Classic (gr. 1) on grass at Churchill Downs but it has been over the grass where he is perhaps most dangerous.

Precious Passion gave us perhaps one of the more dazzling performances of the year in winning the United Nations (gr. 1) at Monmouth Park on July 4 after getting out to a 20-length lead early in that race and holding on to win by two lengths for his 12th turf victory.


Amateurcapper said...

Welcome to the TBA.

Any early thoughts on who wins the Million?

Brock said...

From just a "pick the winner" point of view, I like Einstein. He had a terrible trip in the Foster and still ran a big race. Obviously, no surface scares him and traveling has never been a problem. Gio Ponti will be hard to beat and who's knows what we'll get out of Presious Passion after the UN. The million is worth the price of admission just to see the answer to that question.

ReneC said...

Cima de Triomphe maybe a lot more trouble than most think. His last race at Sandown was against some of the best in Europe.